POSTED: Monday, May 30, 2011 - 8:55am
UPDATED: Monday, May 30, 2011 - 11:18am
PHARR - Most people remember their first day of high school, entering those front doors was daunting. But imagine having to do it, knowing no one and not speak the language.
This was the case for Adriana Rodriguez. She came to the U.S. her freshman year of high school, in a move that tore her family apart; all in hopes of achieving a better life.
"When they told me I was moving to the United States I was like, no I don't want to move. But it was like no option I have to move to here," said Adriana Rodriguez, PSJA North 2011 Graduate.
Adriana moved from Monterrey, an area now filled with cartel violence. Her parents look back knowing they made the right choice, but in the beginning Adriana didn't agree.
"It was pretty hard I cry a lot when I come here. Now like I say it worked to come here," said Adriana.
And it did work, because after four years, Adriana will be graduating in the top ten percent of her class, with 18 AP credits and 59 college credits. An achievement most high school students never reach. She said her biggest obstacle was the English language.
"Today I also have trouble speaking. I understand it and I can read it, but I have trouble speaking," said Adriana.
It was this problem that had ESL teachers at PSJA North discouraging Adriana from attempting to take advanced placement (AP) courses. When Adriana's mother found out her daughter was being discouraged, she went to the principal. And Principal Narciso Garcia was shocked to hear this news.
"I had not even noticed that students were being told that these AP courses are not for you and things like that, so I took it upon myself, and I said I promise you she'll be in not just AP courses next year, advanced placement courses, but also dual credit courses as a junior," said Narciso Garcia, PSJA North Principal.
And Adriana was enrolled, but managing such a hard schedule took even more sacrifice from her family.
"Most of the days I couldn't work because of her schedule, I had to get there to go to Pan Am," said Araceli Rodriguez, Adriana's Mother.
Adriana said she knows how much her parents had to give up for this dream. Her father still lives in Monterrey, while her mother is in the U.S. with her.
"All my family from Mexico, they are against that decision, because they say well your marriage, how can you separate? My parents always told them, it's for my daughter, she is the only one. Everything we do is for her," said Adriana.
And Araceli has a message for other parents.
"To push our kids and encourage them, that yes, they can accomplish things. Yes, they can do it. Yes, they can make it. We always have to be saying you can do it."
Adriana said she will never forget her father's sacrifice.
"Everything I think I do I do here is for my dad," said Adriana.
Adriana is a leader among her student body. Now other limited English speaking students are now following in her footsteps and taking AP courses. She said she tells all of her classmates to just try and try hard.